Please join us in celebrating this month’s spotlight surface designer, Sarah Ossitt. We know you’ll find her story inspiring!
Please Introduce Yourself
I’m originally from the UK but now I live in Sydney, Australia. I love that being a surface designer allows me to be flexible with my hours with a young family.
I have always loved colour and I could spend hours looking at art and craft supplies. I studied art until I was 18 before going to University to study Business Studies.
Tell us a little bit about your design journey.
I have spent a good chunk of my career as an analyst/manager, had a successful career in magazine publishing, managing a team and spending a lot of my day in Excel spreadsheets.
Things started to change when I had my first child. I went to study a Certificate IV in Design as I needed a bit of me-time and really wanted to do something fun and creative. I loved it! Painting swatches and learning about colour and composition — the first time I ever enjoyed having homework!
I followed this on with a diploma of Surface Design, which I did one evening a week after work. There was so much to learn, but I enjoyed it so much and I haven’t stopped making patterns since. After my second child, I didn’t go back to my analyst job and decided it was the best time to give this career a go.
Do you have a favorite portfolio design or client collaboration?
All my clients have been great to work with, so I can’t say there has been a favourite, but my most recent collaboration is with Annabel Trends here in Australia. It is so exciting to see designs come to life on products, and on such a range of products was amazing. They have a gorgeous range of vanity bags with my designs on them, as well as kitchen textiles and other fun products.
I’ve also recently sold a couple of designs to some huge global companies which was so exciting and really gave me a huge confidence boost.
What or who are you inspired by?
Kate Spade has been a huge influence on me especially colour wise. Always bold, feminine and fun.
Anna Bond from Rifle Paper Co — always paints gorgeous florals and has created such a great brand with gorgeous products.
Orla Keily — I love the retro and feminine geometrics that always have great colour palettes
When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?
My perseverance. Surface design is not an easy industry to be successful in (despite what some courses say). It takes consistency and determination.
There are so many knock-backs, but you have to keep going. It was a big adjustment for me completely changing careers, and going from a team environment to being just me. But having the wins and seeing my designs out in the world makes it all worth it.
Do you have resources you’d like to recommend?
The library! I’ve found so many great design books that I wasn’t expecting to find. And Skillshare is a great place for so many different types of classes.
If you could offer advice to other designers who are struggling, what would that be?
Focus on one thing at a time. Although diversification of income is ideal, get going with one first, before starting another.
Where can we find you?